Personal Development and how to Reduce Pressure using Technology

Ever get that overwhelmed feeling? Feel like you are not getting things done? Too busy at work? Feel like you are under too much pressure?

You are not alone. Feeling busier is the result of demands on us from smart phones, family and work. The technology that we use today should be freeing up time for us to spend on ourselves instead of adding to pressure which can lead to stress.Your Personal Development needs to focus on your wellness.

Too much pressure can lead to adverse stress levels.

Stress is natural. Stress is a human response to pressure, it can be traced back millennia to our distant ancestors where the ‘fight or flight’ response kicked in when faced with challenging or dangerous situations.

Pressure is not only about what’s happening around us, but often also about demands we place on ourselves. Experiencing stress is part of being alive and some stress helps increase our alertness and energy to meet challenging situations. If stress lasts a long time or overwhelms our ability to cope, it can have a negative effect on our health, well-being, relationships, work and general enjoyment of life.

Globally more than 300 million people suffer from depression, and 260 million suffer from anxiety disorders —many of whom live with both conditions. A study by the World Health Organization found that such disorders cost the global economy US$1 trillion in lost productivity each year.

So to be able to reduce your stress levels and increase your productivity, not only makes sense from a health and family perspective, but can improve your organisations bottom line.

Stress is good for us in moderation, we cannot cut it out entirely. But the trick is to get smart with pressure and stress. Lower these sufficiently for a positive outcome where you are healthier, more productive and happier at home and work.

In this post I am focusing on three simple stress reduction take aways that you can implement immediately. Making technology work for, not against us.

Plan, Focus and Reflect

First up, use your calendar to help get some focus. Let us start by finding you a regular daily slot to find clarity in your day and to start clearing that overwhelmed feeling.

This is a recurring blocked out piece of time in your working day to plan, focus and reflect on the challenges ahead.This will be your time to focus on the previous day and what you intend to do today.

Many successful people book some reflection time to reduce pressure and stress, to ensure that there is clarity in their work and home life. Joan Didion (American journalist and writer of novels, screenplays, and autobiographical works) takes her hour-long reflection time after work and before dinner. Time alone, to go over what she’d done during the day. She ensures that there is a clear separation between work and her reflection time.

My reflection time is called ‘Planning’ it is in my online diary as a recurring meeting for 30 mins each morning. If 15 minutes works for you, great as long as it is a time and at a place where you can be focused and uninterrupted.

An example of my daily reflection time

Try not do this at your desk, book a meeting room, pop to a cafe and get away. Go old School by using a note book and pencil. There will be some of you who cannot live without your laptop or smart device, that is ok as long as you make sure that you DO NOT check emails or answer calls. This is your time to focus on the previous day and to prepare for the day ahead.

Clarity will start shining through.

Stop Multitasking

 While you are on your reflection time, use this simple tool to bring clarity to your day.

The sheer volume of modern distractions may make life feel busier than it is. Constantly trying to do two things at once means you can feel pulled in multiple directions. You can be working a regular 40-hour-per-week job, and check work email five times at night while eating dinner or watching TV. At just two minutes at a pop, that adds a mere 10 minutes of work, but can pollute whole hours.

If that’s the case, then the key to feeling less busy may be quite simple: stop multitasking. Make the distractions less distracting and time will feel just like it always has.

While you are reflecting, write up a simple Action Plan that will help you focus the mind. There will always be emergencies or surprises during the day, but this will improve your productivity.

Simple Action Plan available here to download (remember to subscribe)

You can add more columns such as ‘completed’, however please do keep it simple. The intent is not to build a Microsoft Project Plan. This is a simple tool for you to add value to your day.

Do not over-complicate, stick to it and start to achieve clarity.

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Cut through the NOISE

I learnt this fantastic take away on a recent Leadership focus group. I have shared this with several people already and it is having a positive effect for them as it is with me.

Also, this is one of the easiest and quickest of the take aways to implement. You can try this as soon as you have ‘liked’ this post and subscribed to the blog itself.

Emails are a fantastic tool, however, just how many emails do you get in an hour? A day? One hundred? Fifty?  The number does not matter, after all this is not a competition. The problem is that emails are distracting and will knock you from your focus and reduce clarity.

Email Etiquette

Did you know that email etiquette states that a sender of an email to you should only be expecting a response from you if you are a ‘To’ addressee ? Those ‘CC’ emails that take you off course are distracting you. Remember, focus and clarity are the key.

Email Etiquette

  • To: – The sender will require a response from you.
  • CC: – You need to know something and a response is not required.
  • BCC: – Avoid devious use of the BCC button, and be aware that if the person BCC’d clicks ‘reply all’, then everyone else will know you’ve BCC’d them! (FREE TIP)

So remember, the only emails that you are being asked for input are the ones where you are included in the ‘To’ address.

You will need to set up a ‘Rule’ on your email to send all your ‘CC’ emails to this folder. This way you are not distracted from your tasks or any important emails which require a direct response to you.

Click on the image above for how to set up rules

You can check this folder at the end of the day or at a time

You can check this folder at the end of the day or at a time which is convenient to you. This way you will be less distracted and more focused during your day.

What Next?

Stress is not the same to everyone, demands made on us and the sense of control that we have on decision making processes are linked to the severity of the stress that we all experience.

The ability to make smart decisions and smart choices can have a positive influence on your health, well-being, relationships, work and general enjoyment of life.

Be smart and start by utilising technology to work for and not against you. By taking these three steps towards clarity at work and a more focused strategy to dealing with pressure and stress, you will become healthier, more productive and happier at home and work.

Reduce pressure and stress

Which ones will you try? share with us below.

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11 thoughts on “Personal Development and how to Reduce Pressure using Technology”

  1. Another one for email relates to the notifications your, the ping or icon that says come and look at me. Years ago I removed these notifications and added blocks in my diary to look and answer emails. It leaves you to concentrate on the tasks you have planned and not for your time and attention being stolen on other matters. Manager Tools have some great ways to be add value to your time.

  2. Great post, Graeme. One addition to the spreadsheet is to use filters. That way you can filter by due date (or any other column) and only see what’s due now and not be overwhelmed by the 100 other things listed. Also if something is due tomorrow date it duebtoday. 😀

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